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post #1 of 76 Old 11-13-2002 Thread Starter
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westsail 32

Thought on westsail 32 would be appreciated. I like the sailing charecteristics and the offshore work capabilities it has. The boat will be used for full time ocean voyaging. Thought and comments will be much appreciated. Thank you
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post #2 of 76 Old 11-15-2002
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westsail 32

One thing that you can say about the Westsail 32ís, they are not all that easy to discuss in an objective way. They have a strong following amongst those that love them and they are the butt of jokes by people who donít. There is so much hyperbole and derision surrounding these boats that it is hard to really tell where the truth starts and the emotion ends. Hereís how I see them.......

To begin to understand the Westsails you need to look at where they came from. In a general sense, the Westsail 32 pretty closely based on the Atkinís designed ĎEricí. The ĎEricísí were a 1930ís era design. They were heavily
constructed as wooden boats with gaff rigs. Atkins was a master of adapting various burdensome (able to carry large loads) working craft designs, into smaller lighter yacht forms. He was a master of modeling hulls so that these extremely heavy vessels (heavy even for their day) sailed reasonably well as compared to a what you would have expected in that era from a boat of this type. In the case of the ĎEricí, Atkins based his design on a Colin Archer sailing yacht that was based on the world famous Colin Archer Rescue Boats. The ĎEricísí
carried enormous sail plans and really took some skill to sail. To stand up to that enormous sail plan, the ĎEricísí were heavily ballasted with external cast lead ballast. That combination gave them reasonable performance (for a heavy cruiser of their day) in a pretty wide range of conditions.

When the ĎEricísí were adapted to fiberglass there were a number of changes made. To begin with the fiberglass hulls actually weighed more than the wooden hull of the Eric. This was partially because the freeboard was raised and a high bulkhead included as a part of the fiberglass work. They were also not
quite as strong and stiff as the wooden hulled ĎEricísí. To help the boats float on their lines, the Westsails had less ballast than the ĎEricísí. This made them comparatively tender (when compared to the Erics) and as a result their sail plans were reduced in size dramatically from the ĎEricísí.

This ballast and sail plan change had a dramatic affect on the sailing ability
as well. Although the Westsails still carry huge sailplans compared to most 32
footers and/or most boats with their waterline length, they are next to useless as sailboats in winds under 8 or so knots. They are also not as good as the ĎEricísí in heavier conditions either. This is because the Westsails still have equal hull drag through the water to the Erics, and they have greater windage, a higher center of effort in their sail plans. To over come thatr esistance they need to carry essentially the same sail area as the ĎEricísí but since they have comparatively less ballast that means that they end up heeling more.

This ballasting issue is further complicated by the fact that the Westsails had internal ballast (which reduces the volume and height of the ballast) and that many of the home built Westsails had lower density ballast in the form of iron set in concrete, which further raised the center of gravity pretty dramatically. Even further exacerbating this situation is the fact that while many of these boats were factory-built, a lot were sold as kits and some were sold without ballast. The kit built boats varied hugely in terms of ballasting.

They also varied quite widely in terms of layouts down below and the quality of work being done. This variation resulted in a pretty wide range of sailing characteristics and a pretty wide variation in the amount of weight in gear and tankage that the boats can tolerate. They also seem to vary pretty widely in the quality of their equipment and their plumbing and electical systems.

Their sailing abilities are pretty well documented. By any objective standard
they are incredibly slow and do not point very well or sail well dead downwind. They tend to be very rolly and generally when fully equipped, do not like a chop. They were often equipped with Yanmar 2GM''s and 3GM30''s which are just not up to pushing around the weight and high drag of a Westsail.

All of that is somewhat offset by the fact that many Westsails have successfully gone offshore. They have a nearly admirable record as offshore boats and have been used successfully as live aboards by people looking for the biggest 32 footer they could find.

I find some of this last logis a little bogus. I think that there is a trap in thinking of boats as being sized by length on deck. As I have said here often, it really makes a lot more sense to think of boats by displacement. When you think of the Westsail as a 20,000 lb boat, suddenly the Westsail is a very small boat for a 20,000 boat. It is also not especially seaworthy or comfortable for a boat of that displacement. For a 32 footer, a Westsail''s 20,000 lbs requires a lot of physical energy to handle and frankly makes for a very tiring boat to sail in changeable conditions. When you
think that you pay dockage for the 40 foot length from the tip of the bowsprit to the tip of the boomkin, then you are also paying a lot of slip costs for a very small boat. At least that is how I look at these things.

When you talk about sailing ability, it has been argued that few Westsails have ever had
properly cut sails and that contributes to their poor reputation. That may be true but their high wetted surface and low aspect ratio rigs can never be made as efficient as a more modern rig (even when compared to a boat with the minor rig and hull shape improvements like the Tayana 37).

Jeff
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post #3 of 76 Old 11-19-2002
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westsail 32

Jeff, what happened to Bill Crealock in your account of the design evolution of the W32? Seems like he deserves at least a ''mention'' since he''s credited with the design, no matter how many iterations proceeded him.<g>

I can''t think of a popular boat more deserving of the ''displacement'' viewpoint, rather than Length on Deck. As I''ve said before, when I side-tie to our friend''s W32 we almost match up like twins: mast height, LOA, beam, displacement, draft all very similar, yet our boat is about twice the size & functionality inside and much faster despite being tubby.

For those surprised by Jeff''s comment that the critical dimension is displacement, think about the commonly accepted boat-comparison measurements (SA/D ratio, B/D ratio, etc.) - what prime measurement do they all use? It surely isn''t LOA or LOD.

Jack
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post #4 of 76 Old 11-19-2002
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westsail 32

I have never been completely certain about the Crealock connection. Depending on whose version you believe Crealock supposedly redrew Atkin''s lines using Atkin''s offsets and then raised the sheer, reworked the rig and ballasting and developed the original Westsail interior. Some versions mention Paul Johnson as well. So I am sure where he really fits in.

To me it''s a little like a Lawley dinghy I helped to build some years ago. The owner wanted the boat to row better in a chop than the original 9''6" (I believe) foot Lawley. So I added several inches between each station and rolled the bow outboard to deflect spray a bit. The completed boat was nearly 11 feet. long and had a more graceful stem than the nearly plumb bow of the original Lawley. I also designed a Sliding Gunther rig for her. Yet, we always referred to her as the Lawley Dinghy because I did not design her if you see what I mean.

Jeff
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post #5 of 76 Old 11-23-2002
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westsail 32

Hi Jeff_H

I''m not sure where you get your facts from, but I have never heard of a Westsail with concrete and steel ballast. Ballasts, whether all lead or lead and steel, were fiberglassed in place.

Also, Westsails came with three engine options, the Volvo MD2B (which is too small), Volvo MD3B (plenty adequate), or Perkins 4-108 (plenty hefty).

Crealock was commissioned by Larry Kendal to recreate the boat in fiberglass for cruising in a time when everyone (including Crealock) was building boats for racing. Kendal built 36 beautifly finished and stout boats with flushed decks. After he went under, the molds were purchased and Westsail Corporation began building boats with a new trunk cabin design that we all know of today as the Westsail 32.

Another point worth mentioning is modifications to the sail plan can greatly improve performance, even in lighter air. With a hull speed of just over 7 knots, it doesn''t take as much as one might think to get it up there and maintain it, no matter what the data sheet says. Agreeably, the more wind the better.

It is built like a tank and tough as nails, another fact a safety minded individual might be interested in.

For a boat that everyone likes to point out a worthless, there sure are a lot of people out there who love them. Many have been around the world. I don''t think those circumnavigators would have done it if it was as horrible boat as you make it out to be.

I question whether you have actually sailed one or if you are just interpreting the numbers.
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post #6 of 76 Old 11-24-2002
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westsail 32

As I have mentioned before, I had helped a fellow who was building one in the 1970''s. His had concrete and steel ballast. It was poured into the keel stub and was lightly glassed over. He also used conventional exterior plywood throughout the boat and skip tabbed bulkheads in with thickened polyester resins.

Yes I have sailed on them and have also seen gobs of them underway in a wide range of conditions. I have never seen one doing anything approaching 7 knots.

I don''t believe I ever said they were worthless, just useless as sailboats in light winds. I too agree that a lot of folks really love thier Westsail 32''s. While you are right that many have gone around the world, there has also been a lot of really junky boats that have sailed around the world as well.

As I started out my post, these are controversial boats. They obviously have thier fans and thier detractors. I am glad that you like yours. Every pot has its lid.

Jeff
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post #7 of 76 Old 12-04-2002
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westsail 32

As a former yachtbuilder, I read with interest the discussion on the Westsail 32. When I was building the Acapulco 40''s I used the same laminator (Crystaliner) as Westsail and therefore had the opportunity to observe their construction. I have to say the fiberglass work was excellent and the boats that were factory finished were good. As to how they sailed, that may be open to interpretation. I must admit I have never been a fan of double enders. The ends are too symetrical and they generally have very slack bilges. I have to agree with a statement Robert Perry made some time ago: "hobby horses belong in the nusery". Yes, I have sailed Westsail 32''s.

While I have never gone bonkers over fin keel/spade rudder cruising boat designs, I do feel a proper cruising yacht will have pleasant overhangs, ample reserve buoyancy in the ends, good performance to weather and the ability to hold a course downwind. There are, of course, additional attributes such as decent light air performance and the ability to sail somewhat "on her lines". I believe these things are necessary requirements for a safe cruising boat. It is possible to design a low wetted surface, semi-full keel/attached rudder boat that meets this criteria. I used to build them. Your comments are most welcome.

Garry L. Powell
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post #8 of 76 Old 10-07-2009
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crealock and the westsail 32

Crealock designed the cabin house. Before that, the boats were flush decked (kendall 32)


rich sv jasmine
westsail 32 "Jasmine"
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post #9 of 76 Old 06-23-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff_H View Post
One thing that you can say about the Westsail 32ís, they are not all that easy to discuss in an objective way. They have a strong following amongst those that love them and they are the butt of jokes by people who donít. There is so much hyperbole and derision surrounding these boats that it is hard to really tell where the truth starts and the emotion ends. Hereís how I see them.......

To begin to understand the Westsails you need to look at where they came from. In a general sense, the Westsail 32 pretty closely based on the Atkinís designed ĎEricí. The ĎEricísí were a 1930ís era design. They were heavily
constructed as wooden boats with gaff rigs. Atkins was a master of adapting various burdensome (able to carry large loads) working craft designs, into smaller lighter yacht forms. He was a master of modeling hulls so that these extremely heavy vessels (heavy even for their day) sailed reasonably well as compared to a what you would have expected in that era from a boat of this type. In the case of the ĎEricí, Atkins based his design on a Colin Archer sailing yacht that was based on the world famous Colin Archer Rescue Boats. The ĎEricísí
carried enormous sail plans and really took some skill to sail. To stand up to that enormous sail plan, the ĎEricísí were heavily ballasted with external cast lead ballast. That combination gave them reasonable performance (for a heavy cruiser of their day) in a pretty wide range of conditions.

When the ĎEricísí were adapted to fiberglass there were a number of changes made. To begin with the fiberglass hulls actually weighed more than the wooden hull of the Eric. This was partially because the freeboard was raised and a high bulkhead included as a part of the fiberglass work. They were also not
quite as strong and stiff as the wooden hulled ĎEricísí. To help the boats float on their lines, the Westsails had less ballast than the ĎEricísí. This made them comparatively tender (when compared to the Erics) and as a result their sail plans were reduced in size dramatically from the ĎEricísí.

This ballast and sail plan change had a dramatic affect on the sailing ability
as well. Although the Westsails still carry huge sailplans compared to most 32
footers and/or most boats with their waterline length, they are next to useless as sailboats in winds under 8 or so knots. They are also not as good as the ĎEricísí in heavier conditions either. This is because the Westsails still have equal hull drag through the water to the Erics, and they have greater windage, a higher center of effort in their sail plans. To over come thatr esistance they need to carry essentially the same sail area as the ĎEricísí but since they have comparatively less ballast that means that they end up heeling more.

This ballasting issue is further complicated by the fact that the Westsails had internal ballast (which reduces the volume and height of the ballast) and that many of the home built Westsails had lower density ballast in the form of iron set in concrete, which further raised the center of gravity pretty dramatically. Even further exacerbating this situation is the fact that while many of these boats were factory-built, a lot were sold as kits and some were sold without ballast. The kit built boats varied hugely in terms of ballasting.

They also varied quite widely in terms of layouts down below and the quality of work being done. This variation resulted in a pretty wide range of sailing characteristics and a pretty wide variation in the amount of weight in gear and tankage that the boats can tolerate. They also seem to vary pretty widely in the quality of their equipment and their plumbing and electical systems.

Their sailing abilities are pretty well documented. By any objective standard
they are incredibly slow and do not point very well or sail well dead downwind. They tend to be very rolly and generally when fully equipped, do not like a chop. They were often equipped with Yanmar 2GM''s and 3GM30''s which are just not up to pushing around the weight and high drag of a Westsail.

All of that is somewhat offset by the fact that many Westsails have successfully gone offshore. They have a nearly admirable record as offshore boats and have been used successfully as live aboards by people looking for the biggest 32 footer they could find.

I find some of this last logis a little bogus. I think that there is a trap in thinking of boats as being sized by length on deck. As I have said here often, it really makes a lot more sense to think of boats by displacement. When you think of the Westsail as a 20,000 lb boat, suddenly the Westsail is a very small boat for a 20,000 boat. It is also not especially seaworthy or comfortable for a boat of that displacement. For a 32 footer, a Westsail''s 20,000 lbs requires a lot of physical energy to handle and frankly makes for a very tiring boat to sail in changeable conditions. When you
think that you pay dockage for the 40 foot length from the tip of the bowsprit to the tip of the boomkin, then you are also paying a lot of slip costs for a very small boat. At least that is how I look at these things.

When you talk about sailing ability, it has been argued that few Westsails have ever had
properly cut sails and that contributes to their poor reputation. That may be true but their high wetted surface and low aspect ratio rigs can never be made as efficient as a more modern rig (even when compared to a boat with the minor rig and hull shape improvements like the Tayana 37).

Jeff
Jeff - I have read this cut and pasted rundown on the Westsail 32 by you on many message boards and wondered how you can reconcile what you write about the sailing performance with real world sailing results. Did you own a Westsail at some point?
Thanks for your input.
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post #10 of 76 Old 09-30-2011
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Originally Posted by Jeff_H View Post
As I have mentioned before, I had helped a fellow who was building one in the 1970''s. His had concrete and steel ballast. It was poured into the keel stub and was lightly glassed over. He also used conventional exterior plywood throughout the boat and skip tabbed bulkheads in with thickened polyester resins.

Yes I have sailed on them and have also seen gobs of them underway in a wide range of conditions. I have never seen one doing anything approaching 7 knots.

I don''t believe I ever said they were worthless, just useless as sailboats in light winds. I too agree that a lot of folks really love thier Westsail 32''s. While you are right that many have gone around the world, there has also been a lot of really junky boats that have sailed around the world as well.

As I started out my post, these are controversial boats. They obviously have thier fans and thier detractors. I am glad that you like yours. Every pot has its lid.

Jeff
Here is some actual real world information about the light air performance of the W-32. These pictures were taken in Puget sound last month. The pictures show the sail configuration and the apparent wind conditions, as well as the speed of the boat through the water.
Upwind:



Downwind:

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